If you heard a scream as you started reading this column, don’t get upset. It’s just me, trying to vent some of the frustration that has consumed me lately.

The last year or so, I’ve been shopping online a lot more than I have in previous years. COVID-19 is one of the reasons for that change. Like many others, I’m trying to cut down on the time I spend in public.

A second reason is that I can find certain items online that I can’t find locally.

Thirdly, I can often find better bargains online, especially when free shipping is offered.

I’m amazed how quickly some of the online orders arrive. At times, the delivery takes only two days. However, online shopping has its drawbacks. The problems I’ve been experiencing lately are starting to outweigh the benefits.

I use only one credit card whenever I purchase anything online. That’s convenient, right?

Yes, except for the fact that my credit card has been hacked three times the past several months. That ‘hacking’ means I have to get new card and pass on the new card information to all the sites that automatically charge my card every month. That’s a pain in the tush.

A few months ago, someone used my credit card to buy a $100 gift card. I learned just the other day that the charge was an ‘electronic transfer’ to my email account. Apparently, I have ‘to eat’ that charge, since I can’t prove it wasn’t my doing.

Occasionally, I receive two items instead of the one I ordered, or I never even receive what I ordered.

I’m currently waiting for two products that have been charged to my credit card. It’s been over a month, but I’m allowing some leeway, because of the Christmas mail rush. If they don’t arrive soon, I’ll have the fun time of trying to remove those charges from my credit card.

A few days ago, a large box was delivered. I quickly discovered that the 30 candy cane, outdoor lights I ordered for next Christmas were about 16-inches tall instead of 27. Yet another order to return.

At times, an item arrives damaged or flawed.

The four-foot-high, wooden, nutcracker soldier I ordered as a Christmas gift for a relative had several imperfections, including some cracks. Since it was very expensive, I wanted to return it for a refund.

A customer service representative agreed to the refund, then added, “It would cost you quite a lot to return it. You can just destroy it or donate it.” I was stunned.

When I was able to talk again, I informed her I would donate it to a local charity.

A few weeks later, I ended up giving it to the relative, who could make the necessary repairs if she wished. To ease my conscience, I made a monetary donation to a local charity after estimating what they probably would have charged to sell the nutcracker.

I’ve decided to make fewer online purchases for a while; at least, until I stop screaming.

Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele, a native of Milton, who has lived in Minnesota and Iowa, has been writing Sunny Side Up for about 40 years. A graduate of Milton Union High School and Milton College, she has written four books. She has two children, three stepchildren, and a blended family that includes 11 grandkids.

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